A dental implant is an artificial tooth root.
It looks like a screw and is made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material.
They are installed surgically into the jaw bone to create the basis upon which the artificial tooth (crown) will be placed.
They are placed under local anesthesia.
Over about three months, bone cells are created around the implant, incorporating it into the jaw bone (osseointegration).
Once incorporated into the jaws, crowns are welded onto these.
Dental implants are metal anchors which act as tooth root substitutes. They are surgically placed into the jaw bone. Small posts are then attached to the dental implant which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures.
First, dental implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the dental implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone.
You should be able to wear temporary dentures and follow a soft diet during this time.
At the same time, your restorative dentist designs the final bridgework or denture, which will ultimately improve both function and aesthetics.
After the dental implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Your doctor will uncover the dental implants and attaches a small healing collar. After two weeks your general dentist will be able to start making your new teeth. An impression must be taken. Then posts or attachments can be connected to the implants.
The teeth replacements are then made over the posts or attachments. The entire procedure usually lasts six to eight months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.
In some instances, dental implants can be placed at the time of tooth extraction ("immediate implants") and in some special circumstances, the crowns or teeth can be placed on top of the implants immediately ("immediate load") rather than having to wait for the above mentioned three to six month healing period.
Which of the above techniques the doctor uses, is at the discretion of the doctor according to what is most appropriate for your particular situation.
It is important to understand that in some people, especially those that have been missing teeth for many years, often the bone and soft tissue that was supporting those missing teeth has now atrophied to the point that bone and/or soft tissue grafting may be necessary in order for the dental implant treatment to be successful.
Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will discuss this with you during your consultation if necessary.